Snow Event FAQ - Updated November 2019

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Sammamish receives a lot of questions about our procedures for before, during, and after snow events. We've compiled many of them - and the answers from our Streets and Stormwater Division experts - here.

How does the city prepare for snow and ice events, and what happens the snow hits?

  • The City of Sammamish has a snow-plowing priority system in place to clear our 400 lane miles of arterial roads, 130 miles of residential roads, and over 720 cul-de-sacs.
  • The plowing time required depends on several variables such as the snowstorm intensity, duration, wind and the temperature.
  • The Snow & Ice Route Map can be found here. (https://www.sammamish.us/attachments/pagecontent/36505/SnowIce2017_snowMaintZones.pdf)
  • After the layer of anti-icer is applied and snow starts to fall/accumulate, snowplows are operated around-the-clock on the city’s priority routes

 How do you decide which streets to prioritize?

  • For any snow event, our number one goal is to keep designated priority routes in good winter driving condition.
  • Priority routes are life lines, major thoroughfares, and arterial roadways and streets.

We all pay taxes. Why doesn’t the city deice and plow all the streets – specifically secondary and residential streets?

  • The City has over 400 lane miles of arterial roads, 130 miles of residential roads, and over 720 cul-de-sacs to cover with limited resources, including snow plows, storage capacity for deicer and salt to treat surfaces, and maintenance personnel.
  • Our priorities focus on ensuring accessibility for lifelines, main arterials and thoroughfares, main connector streets, and major hills and curves.
  • During snow events our crews and snow removal equipment are out on the streets 24 hours a day.
  • We do not plow or deice private roads or driveways.

What kind of equipment does Sammamish have to deal with snow and ice?

Sammamish has the following in our arsenal of snow-fighting equipment:

  • Eleven plow trucks that include Ford F-250s, F-450s, F-550s and two five-yard dump trucks.
  • Snow plows: Eleven 9-foot straight plows, two 10-foot straight plows, and two 7-foot straight plows for a total of 15 plows.
  • Salt/Sand spreaders: Seven 3-yard and two 5-yard spreaders, for a total of nine. Both 5-yard spreaders also have the capability to carry 300 gallons of deicing liquid.
  • Deicers: Three 500-gallon and four-300 gallon, for a total of seven deicing units.
  • Capacity to hold over 200 tons each of sand and salt.
  • Availability to store 35,000 gallons of liquid deicer.
  • Two John Deer utility vehicles equipped with plows and spreaders, which are used to keep City Hall clear of snow and ice.

Are there any tips for safe driving during snowstorms?

  • Slow down in winter weather; driving too fast for conditions causes most accidents.
  • Take the extra time to clear your car of snow and ice before leaving for your destination.
  • When driving at night, keep your headlight beams low. High beams can amplify the appearance of snow and lead to decreased visibility.
  • Carry tire chains in your car and know how use them. Here’s information on how to install tire chains; there are also many videos available on YouTube. https://www.wikihow.com/Install-Snow-Chains-on-Tires
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Do not abandon your car in the middle of a road – it’s a hazard for other drivers and may block the path of emergency response vehicles and snow plows. All abandoned vehicles will be towed and at the owner’s expense.

What if the snow plows missed my street?

  • Please do not use My Sammamish Fix It/See Click Fix to report that your street has not been plowed.
  • Please do not call Public Works to report that your street has not been plowed.
  • Please do not use the on-call emergency line to report that your street has not been plowed.
  • Our crews and plows must work on priority routes first and then move on to working on the neighborhood hills and arterials.
  • When snow continues to fall, plows will not be available to clear local residential and less-traveled roads, as they must continue working to ensure major roads and transit routes are clear.